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Nat Neurosci. 2009 Feb;12(2):182-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2250. Epub 2009 Jan 11.

N-Acetylcysteine reverses cocaine-induced metaplasticity.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue BSB410, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

Abstract

Cocaine addiction is characterized by an impaired ability to develop adaptive behaviors that can compete with cocaine seeking, implying a deficit in the ability to induce plasticity in cortico-accumbens circuitry crucial for regulating motivated behavior. We found that rats withdrawn from cocaine self-administration had a marked in vivo deficit in the ability to develop long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in the nucleus accumbens core subregion after stimulation of the prefrontal cortex. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) treatment prevents relapse in animal models and craving in humans by activating cystine-glutamate exchange and thereby stimulating extrasynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR). NAC treatment of rats restored the ability to induce LTP and LTD by indirectly stimulating mGluR2/3 and mGluR5, respectively. Our findings show that cocaine self-administration induces metaplasticity that inhibits further induction of synaptic plasticity, and this impairment can be reversed by NAC, a drug that also prevents relapse.

PMID:
19136971
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2661026
Free PMC Article

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